European Inventor Hall of Fame opens at Deutsches Museum

17 October 2013

EPO President Benoît Battistelli and Deutsches Museum General Director Wolfgang M. Heckl open the exhibition

Seven outstanding scientists and engineers from across Europe were thrust into the public spotlight at the opening of the European Inventor Hall of Fame today at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. The exhibition, commissioned by the EPO as part of celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the signing of the European Patent Convention in 1973, was officially opened by EPO President Benoît Battistelli and the Museum's General Director Wolfgang M. Heckl.

"Looking at the exhibition, no one can fail to be impressed by the vision and energy of these pioneering creators," said Mr Battistelli. "What we see here is technology at the service of humanity, helping not only to boost economic growth and create jobs, but to make the world a better place, with an improved quality of life."

Professor Heckl spoke about the "technology triangle" formed by the German Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office and the Deutsches Museum. "Together we form a nucleus of all that is brave and bold in technological progress," he said.

Former President Alain Pompidou and current President Benoît Battistelli test the exhibit

The Hall of Fame features seven exhibits about inspirational men and women, all of whom have been honoured in recent years with the European Inventor Award for their groundbreaking inventions. The exhibition itself is the result of co‑operation between the EPO and a group of European science and technology museums, including the Deutsches Museum, which stands facing EPO headquarters on the banks of the river Isar in Munich ─ the inventions of the past and present juxtaposed with the inventions of the future. The exhibition opens in Munich, but will then travel to some of Europe's other leading science and technology museums in the months to come. Its first port of call is the Centro Musei Scienze Naturali in Naples, where it can be seen from March to May 2014.

The inventors featured in the Hall of Fame are:


  • Prof. Josef Bille (Germany), pioneer of laser eye correction (winner 2012, Lifetime Achievement);
  • Prof. Jason Chin (UK), who together with Oliver Rackham (Australia) has re-engineered protein synthesis inside human cells for advanced therapeutics (finalists 2012, Research);
  • Dr. Jaap Haartsen (the Netherlands), inventor of Bluetooth short-range wireless connectivity (finalist 2012, Industry);
  • Ann Lambrechts (Belgium), inventor of steel fibres to reinforce concrete (winner 2011, Industry);
  • Farouk Tedjar (France), inventor of a safe, green way to recycle batteries (finalist 2012, SMEs);
  • Jan Tøpholm (Denmark), together with Søren Westermann and Svend Vitting Andersen, whose patented process is behind 95% of all tailor-made hearing aids (winners 2012, Industry);
  • Benedetto Vigna (Italy), whose three-dimensional motion sensor is found in smart phones and the Nintendo® WiiTM (finalist 2010, Industry).

Launched in 2006, the European Inventor Award is presented annually by the European Patent Office, to honour inventive individuals and teams whose pioneering work provides answers to the challenges of our age and thereby contributes to social progress, economic growth and prosperity. It is presented in five categories: Industry, Research, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), Non-European Countries, and Lifetime Achievement.

The Deutsches Museum is the world's largest museum of science and technology, with approximately 1.5 million visitors per year and about 28 000 exhibits objects from 50 different technical fields. It was founded in 1903 at a meeting of the Association of German Engineers.

Further information

Hall of Fame

European Inventor Award

Hall of Fame on the CNN website

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